The countdown is almost over for Michael Rodd to re-unite with unbeaten mare Atlantic Jewel in her return to the racetrack in the Group 1 $350,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Rodd can’t wait as the hours pass by and thinks that the Mark Kavanagh trained Atlantic Jewel will be in the firing line again even though she is returning from injury and hasn’t raced for sixteen months.
“It’s first-up at 1400m and it’s a Group 1 race. Probably not everyone would think it’s an ideal kick-off point but we think she’s good enough to take them on and come out a winner,” Rodd told AAP.
“It has been a wait but it’s very much well worth it. You want to make sure you get it right with a horse like her, and she’s definitely worth waiting for.”
Atlantic Jewel emerged as another glamour galloper in the Spring of 2011 and was ready to share the spotlight with champion sprinter Black Caviar, but a tendon injury forced her off the racing scene since she won her second Group 1, the 2012 $400,000 Ticketek All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Atlantic Jewel has had two jump outs in preparation for her reappearance on race day and Rodd is very much looking forward to seeing her pick up where she left off.
“But now the fields are out and her name is down, it’s becoming a reality now,” Rodd said.
“I’m sure there’ll be a few butterflies in my stomach before the race but once the barriers open I’ve got a lot of confidence in her and her ability. Once the gates open it’s business as usual and I know how good she is.”
Atlantic Jewel burst into the limelight with a three length victory in 2011 Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield and went on to be undefeated from seven race starts.
Early betting for the Memsie Stakes has Atlantic Jewel the $2 favourite in a star studded field that includes eight individual Group 1 winners.
Crack Kiwi galloper It’s A Dundeel in the second pick at $5.50 and looks the logical danger if he can regain his Autumn form that saw him take out the triple crown for the three year olds during the Autumn with three Group 1 wins which included a six length demolition of the Group 1 $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick.
The Memsie Stakes is also the Spring launching pad for several Cups contenders, including last year’s Melbourne Cup quinella Green Moon ($16) and Fiorente ($13).
Gai Waterhouse has given Fiorente a solid grounding for his return with two impressive barrier trials at Randwick and is hoping to go one better in this year’s Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5.
Emirates Stakes winner Happy Trails is also in the market at $10 while Super Cool, who is having his first start since winning the Group 1 $1m Darley Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington in March is marked as a $17 chance.